Step 3 of ODDER Being: Decide On Your Priorities

How to find focus, even if you want it all

A thought cloud with a castle in front of a rainbow

In the Define step, you envisioned your dream life. But here’s the truth: positive thinking alone won’t get you there. In the end, living a life that fits you is all about integration.

What is integration and why do you need it?

Integration means you take the insights you’ve had and you put them to practice in your daily life. So if at this point, you’re aware you want to build a career in breeding platypuses, this is the moment to start bringing your dreams to life.

Once you’ve defined you’re dream life, next is deciding what you’re going to focus on. You’ll need to pick the first things you’re going to integrate (since most of us don’t seem to be able to do it all at the same time, not effectively anyway, believe me, I’ve tried). So what could that look like?

For instance, part of my vision board is sustaining myself breeding platypuses, but at this point I don’t know anything about them (for the record – this is an example; I’m not actually a platypus breeder). Alright, so maybe quitting my job and living on a far-away farm surrounded by these adorable weirdo’s is a step too far. But maybe I feel like it’s doable to do all the prep work this year. Or, maybe I want to focus on getting an internship at a platypus daycare. Or… you catch my drift.

How to pick your focus?

In the Decide stage, you choose your priorities (and by definition, if everything is a priority, nothing is). There are a number of ways to pick what comes first (and you can mix them). I usually focus on the quick wins, the energy boosters, the logical next steps, and the inhibitors.

The quick wins

Some things are relatively easy, so why not get them out of the way? Beware of distractions: sometimes, things are easy, but don’t add much to the life you want to build. It’s like shopping for things on sale: just because it’s cheap or great value, doesn’t mean it doesn’t cost you. Your time and energy are important currencies, so be prudent with the things you spend them on.

One thing that greatly simplified my life was getting a robot vacuum cleaner. I’m a total sloth and housekeeping is very low on my priority list, so this easy tool is helping me manage things a bit better.

The energy boosters

Some things aren’t exactly urgent, and maybe they won’t even make a huge difference, but you do them because you they give you energy. I’m not talking about the quick dopamine boosts (whether mindlessly scrolling through Instagram), but rather the things that get you in the flow and spark your creativity.

For me, one of these things is visiting modern art exhibitions. 9 out of 10 times, I walk away with a huge smile on my face, gears in speed-mode in my mind, and a bunch of new ideas. On the opposite side, much as I enjoy spending time in nature, I usually feel depleted when I get home. Knowing your boosters can be huge in helping your focus.

The logical next steps

Usually, to accomplish whatever we want, there are some milestones we need to reach along the way. These are usually relatively easy to identify once you know where you want to end up. You don’t need to know the entire path of getting from A to Z. As long as you know your next step.

For instance, last year I wanted to crowdfund a new deck of cards. The first thing I focused on was doing research on crowdfunding campaigns. The second was building an email list. And so on.

(Tip: if you don’t know your next step, why not Google “What do I need to do for XYZ?”, e.g. “What do I need to do to become a platypus breeder?”

The inhibitors

So far, I’ve discussed the things you want to focus on because they help you move forward. But sometimes, there are things holding us back, and when this is the case, we sometimes need to pause and fix whatever it is that’s holding us back, whether it’s our health, our relationship, a job… I’m not saying you should fix everything that isn’t working, but if the thing that isn’t working is actively harming your progress, then yes, it might be worth taking some time to fix it.

Back in college, I used to be a chaotic mess. I had to make time to device a new planning system for myself, because all of the times I was late with assignments really stressed me out.

 

 Exercise

You can’t focus on everything at once…

  1. Look back on your design phase.
  2. Now, pick 3 things that are the highest priority for you. Why are they so important?
  3. For every thing, identify the first step you’d like to focus on.

Need some inspiration for your dreams first? Get our Odder Being Vision Cards to explore the different areas of your life and design your dream life.

    You’ve now completed the third step of choosing an ODDER life, Deciding what to focus on. In the next step, we’re going to focus on the E: Embodying . 

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